Three years ago, on November 17, 2006, I woke up, no longer 29 and holding, but very much a 30 year old. It was a pretty uneventful birthday, as most of mine are. Craig was in Kuwait and I had big plans to go to my favorite step aerobics class, shower at the gym and then treat myself to lunch and maybe a quick shopping trip before picking up Caroline from pre school.
Well, as my luck would have it, my step class was cancelled because the gym was busy moving to it's newer, bigger location. So I went home. And exercised at home. And ate lunch at home.
It was kind of pathetic.
I do remember going out to dinner with Caroline, my friend and her family that night, so all was not lost. And still, it was hardly a birthday worthy of remembering. Especially since the piece of cake I brought home from the restaurant was devoured by my 4 year old, leaving me just a few bites.
Missing your favorite step class on your birthday is bad, but only getting a few measly crumbs of cake is MUCH worse.
You might be wondering why I'm reminiscing about my pitiful 30th birthday instead of talking about turning 33 today. Well, first, I'm not all that happy about being 33 so I'm trying to avoid the topic, but secondly, I'm remembering that day in 2006 because on that fateful 30th birthday, I had a little talk with my faithful date of birth: November 17th.
The conversation went something like this:
"Hey November 17th, you've been good to me for a long time. And for that I am eternally grateful. I've enjoyed many birthdays, opened many presents, blown out many candles and eaten many slices of cake. In theory, I don't really have a problem with YOU, November 17th. It's not YOUR fault I was born on your day. It's not YOUR fault you come around once every 365 days.
But here's the thing. I'm DONE. 30 is good, 31 is not. Nor is any number after. Once you're in your 30s, things change. Body parts that were once perky are perky no more. Smile lines become more defined. Joints creak and crack and lets not even talk about middle age spread.
I'd appreciate it if you'd consider not coming around anymore. I won't mind. Really.
Tell your buddies you're going on vacation. November 16th is welcome to occur as scheduled, as is November 18th. I have no beef with them.
But, I'm giving you the axe.
Thanks for all you've done for me, but really, it's been too much.
I don't mean to sound ungrateful, honestly, I don't. But please take this opportunity to go bless someone else with another candle on their cake and not to mention, the accompanying cellulite and deeply embedded forehead lines."
It was a heartfelt conversation.
Unfortunately for me November 17th is cruel and heartless.
And dead set on returning year after year.
November 17th is evidently a rule follower. As a rule follower myself, I can sympathize with his/her plight. I just figured if I talked sweetly enough, November 17th would permit this one exception.
I figured wrong.
And here I am, 33 years old. Does that mean I'm in my mid-30s? Or do I have one more year in my early 30s?
I realize in the grand scheme of things 33 isn't that old. It's not, I know. But what bothers me is how quickly the years fly by.
It's scary how I remember turning 25, but the subsequent years are all a big blur. I suppose I could blame that on Caroline since I had her at that age. Yep, that's it. The big blur that is the last 8 years of my life is definitely peppered with spit up, interrupted sleep, dirty faces, meltdowns at the mall over balloons in locked stores and stepping haphazardly on Legos with bare feet.
Parenthood or not, time is zooming.
Each year I lament the fact that I didn't enjoy the previous year as much as I should have; I think that's why I dread adding another number to my age each November 17th.
It's not that 33 is bad; but 32 wasn't great.
It's my fault. I should work harder at enjoying life; finding joy in simple things, letting go of the things I can't control.
Instead I dither away the time, worrying about big things I haven't an ounce of control over and also, little things like finding the perfect pair of jeans or whittling down my ever growing laundry pile.
It's a lesson I can't quite seem to get.
But on the other hand, if I did finally "get it" I wouldn't be able to call myself "The Neurotic Housewife" any longer.
Somehow "The Completely Well Adjusted Housewife" doesn't have the same ring to it.